How Not To Find Clients As A Freelancer



Introduction

Leaving job and doing freelancing is a global trend now. In a few years around 30 to 40 percent of  the global skilled people will be freelancers.

  • So, are you among them?

  • Are you planning to fire your boss?

  • Do you want to be self independent?

  • Do you want to earn more money than 9 to 5 job holders?

Then obviously you have chosen the path of freelancing or on the way to choose it as your next career path. But when you start your journey to the seemingly smooth path of freelancing you bump your face hard to an invisible wall of glass. What the hell is that! Yes, the riddle of finding your first client(s). Again if you already have a few clients and if they do not bring you enough money then maybe you are depressed and regretting your decision of choosing the wrong career path.

No, my dear friend the path is not wrong, maybe you cannot see the huge fertile green field due to the fog! Maybe you have followed the wrong strategies! Do you think that I am here with a magic wand and going to show you some magic tricks? No, my dear friend! If you expect that then I humbly request you not to proceed to read this article further!

Nothing is new under the sun. When Lincoln said, “democracy is of the people, by the people and for the people”, do you think he was the first one to utter those words in a harmonic sequence? No, absolutely not. Then why do you expect that you will also hear some brand new magic theory from me! But I am going to tell you facts and theories from my experience and stories of my own success. I am an all 5 * top rated freelancer in various marketplaces. I am a full stack software engineer with 9 years of experience. What I am going to say is somewhat unconventional and against the stream stuffs. So, without further ado let’s start.

Do Your First Projects For Free : No, A BIG NO

At the start of freelancing career it is very tough to get projects or clients. Being a new player to the table none will notice you in-spite of being an expert or having many years of experience. At this stage putting a question mark on your face you will try to find clients and listen to other people’s suggestions and solutions making yourself more solution-less.

Most of the online articles, resources etc. will suggest you that you do your first projects for free, you start with your family, friends and their acquaintances and yeah, do all them for free. Let’s first put family things aside and start with the rest.

First of all remember that “there is nothing called a free lunch”, “great things come with great price and time”. I say these things out loud when I provide suggestions to professionals and to my students. Even if I foresee that my client is trying to get a big task done with a lower price range I put these lines in front of their very own eyes so that they do not ask to do the projects at lower rates. Most of time the project come to me with right price from those clients. Sometime clients do not have enough money to spend and they politely tell me that they currently don’t want to have the project done as they are out of money. I politely reply them back that I am always here to make their project another success story when they are ready. Sometimes clients are students or really cannot manage enough money to have the project done by the right people at the right price. In those cases if it is not a big loss for me I complete those projects at whatever price they can afford. This is a different case and I am not asking you to work for low price, you can ignore those people. It is just my ethics and emotional point that I try to do something for them.

From my experience: once you do something for free they will always want free from you. They won’t even remember or won’t be grateful to you for your great service in the long run. Once they get some signal from you that you want money they will find another person to do their work at a higher rate but won’t give you few bucks for your great service. Again, for asking money from them they will say bad things about you in your back. These things will break your heart to some degree and discourage you to meet new clients for sometime. Once you are free like Oxygen you are always free like Oxygen. Don’t be Oxygen, instead be some gas that people don’t need all the time but when they need it, they buy it with high price. Make yourself valuable.

Start Working At Lower Rate Than Others : No, A BIG NO

I have discussed most of the things in the previous topic. If you did not put much attention then please read that once again. The main point of my talk is don’t make yourself cheap, once you are cheap you are always cheap, once you have shown that you work for low price people will think low about you. 

One of the most common suggestions people will give you is ‘start working at low price and then increase periodically’. This is one of the most destructive things to do at your career path. When you put your low price forward to your client the first thought come to their mind is “if this work is worth $1000 then why he/she want to do it for 100 bucks only?” They move forward to other people and give the job to someone else. I have seen a lot of jobs that worth $35/hour and a lot of people bid for $10 to $15 per hour. I saw that clients show their budget as $25/hour but end up giving the job to them who bid for $30 to $40, they go beyond their budget. Is that all about money? No, most of the low bidding people do not have enough skill to do that. A very few number of people who bid for low price and also have enough skill and proven track record are usually unnoticed because clients get tired of reviewing those number of low price guys.

First learn to respect your skill, your expertise, your experience, respect the very yourself. Once you can do that other people will also respect you. If you do not know your value, if you do not know that you are worth some higher value then other people will also treat you like the same.

I also sometime hire people for some small task of me. I know the price range. So, if someone say that they will work at low price or free for me I usually tell them, “show me one genuine reason for what you wanna do it for free or at low price”. If they successfully show that they are getting more benefit from me or from the project/task I take them with me. If they utter like the others I say “excuse me!”.

So, I also question you:

  • If you are expert then why do you want to do the job for free?

  • Do you have so much time and money that you wanna spend some from yourself and work for free?

I am not extending this article anymore today. I will tell you more in my next article. Till then Happy New Year.

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